Another HG writing challenge. This time it is a little Sense and Sensibility.
In the Mood
“This is Elinor, your host for our special Valentine’s Day edition of ‘In the Mood,’ where your dedications fill the airwaves with nothing but love songs.”
Elinor Dashwood switched off the mike as Unchained Melody* took over. She had three songs to field any last minute phone dedications. Most of the program was set, with pre-recorded conversations with starry-eyed people in the throws of love. How depressing! The only thing missing was…
“I’ve got a live one for you, boss. Line one,” Jenny, her engineer, said.
Unsuspecting of the calamity about to fall, Elinor picked up the phone call.
“How could he leave me, Elinor, for that… that… whore?”
‘Perfect. Just the person I did NOT want to talk to tonight,’ Elinor thought.
“Hello to you, Marianne. How is your evening going?”
“Don’t patronize me. My heart is broken!”
I need your love.
I need your love.*
“Marianne, your heart is always breaking. Last year is was Tommy, this time it’s John.”
“But he told me he loved me! I thought we were on the verge of getting engaged!”
“The only thing John Willoughby was on the verge of was finally getting into you pants!”
“I’m not so innocent,” Marianne pouted.
Elinor could feel a headache coming. She rubbed her temple with left hand.
“Listen, Sis, I’m glad you didn’t let him go too far too soon. Think of how bad you’d feel now if you had.”
“*Sniff* He never even said goodbye. He just… left m-m-me.”
“You’re still in shock over seeing him again. I told you it was a bad idea to go to that party.”
Elinor had a flashback to the week before. Marianne had dragged her off to a party thrown by God knows who. When they arrived, they saw Marianne’s ex dancing in a very intimate manner with an unknown woman. Marianne lost it. She immediately tried to cut in on the couple, but the woman would not allow it. Had Elinor not stepped in when she did, a catfight would have broken out. Chagrinned, Willoughby had pulled his partner away to the other side of the room. Elinor dragged Marianne outside. She had thought she would have to slap her hysterical sister to get her to calm down. Instead, she was able to march Marianne quickly to their car and took her home. Elinor hadn’t seen her little sister composed since.
“You’re right. I should have listened to you.”
The first song had ended and now Michel Bolton** was crooning,
How am I supposed to live without you?
“Those words have never seemed so true.” Marianne sighed.
“‘I should have listened to you?’ Damn straight they are!”
“No, no. The song. ‘How am I supposed to live without you, now that I’ve been loving you so long?’ It’s so poetic!”
“Stop quoting song lyrics, or poetry for that matter.”
“But it speaks of the longing of my heart, something you could never understand.”
That did it. Elinor had enough, and she was going to tell her sister what she needed to hear.
“You think you’re the only one with a broken heart? It’s bloody Valentine’s Day, and I’m stuck in a stupid radio booth with no company other than my engineer and no one to go home to! The man I would have spent the evening with, had I my wish, is engaged to a social climbing, sniveling, Jezebel! To top it off, I have to listen to all these songs that talk about meeting your one true love—which I know will never happen to me—because it’s my job. So stop with the pity party, sober up, and think of someone else for a change!”
The only sound she heard was her sister breathing… and Celine Deon.***
My heart will go on and on.
Elinor hung up the phone and turned the sound off. I hate this song! The boat sank and her lover died! she thought. Almost immediately the phone lines lit up and Jenny was nowhere to be seen.
Unknown to Elinor, her engineer had seen her chance to make it big when the phone call from Marianne had come in. She had put Elinor’s sister on hold and made an emergency call to the station manager, pitching her idea. The decision was swift. It was a go! Jenny patched Marianne Dashwood through to her sister, fed the phone call over the music and voila! They were live on the air. Neither woman had any idea.
“I don’t know what you saw in her John. She sounds so self-absorbed.”
“She was totally devoted to me. I found it charming.”
“Yeah, well charming still didn’t help Little Johnny get where he wanted to be.”
“Well, Big Johnny’s coming now!”
“Marianne, it’s John’s whore. Thanks for being a prude.”
She didn’t bother waiting for Marianne to respond before she ended the call. Laughing, she awoke her lover in more ways than one.
He had turned on ‘In the Mood’ every night for the past month just for the chance to hear her voice. Edward had fallen in love with Elinor Dashwood when he was engaged to Lucy Steele. He didn’t mean to become involved with another woman, but it he had met Elinor right after Lucy had asked for a little time before they announced it to their families, and he was too much of a gentleman to object to Lucy’s request.
Hell, the child she told him she was carrying wasn’t even his—it was his stupid brother’s. The idiot had knocked up the woman and then had the gall to get himself killed in an accident. Lucy played to his sense of duty and family, when he agreed to the charade. They would have the baby and then break off the engagement. It was all set.
Then he met Elinor and his life was thrown upside down. She found out about the engagement, and the unborn child she assumed was his, before he had a chance to explain. He was called away, and they had not seen each other since. Marianne didn’t even know that Lucy had tricked him. There was no baby, but Lucy demanded he stand by his promise of marriage on the threat that if he did not, she would create such a scandal that it would ruin his family. Edward would have acquiesced if his mother had not found out. She demanded he put a stop to the nonsense, and when he refused, she took care of Miss Steele herself.
That was embarrassing, but this was heartbreaking. Elinor still loved him! He needed to talk to her NOW. He tried to dial the show but the lines were busy.
“In the Mood, Elinor speaking.”
“Oh my, way to tell her off! I feel the same way you do. Alone and wishing it could be different,” the caller said.
“Excuse me? You’ve’ lost me.”
“The telephone call that just aired on your show. Was that Marianne a friend or your sister?”
Comprehension began to dawn.
“Do you mean that my last phone call was broadcast on the radio?”
“Of course, dear, that’s why I called. Way to tell her off!”
“Thanks for the phone call.”
Could it get any worse?
Line 2 – “Marianne should stop crying and find a respectable man.”
Line 3 – “You poor thing! I hope your love life gets better.”
Line 4 – “The music is over, are you going to play my dedication?”
The switchboard was lit up all night. Elinor was relieved when she could finally sign off.
“Thanks for your concern tonight, folks. That was never meant to go on air. At least it made for a memorable show! On this Valentine’s Night, I hope your dreams come true. This is Elinor, signing off from another evening of ‘In the Mood.’”
For years to come, when she could look back and laugh at it, she would refer to the night as her very own St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. At least, in her version, no one died.
* Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers. Released 1965
** How Am I Supposed To Live Without You? by Michael Bolton version. Released 1989
*** My Heart Will Go On [Love Theme from Titanic] by Celine Dion, Released 1997